Google Shoes Set to Overcome “VR Locomotion” Problem

Ever hesitated to explore the VR environment because you were worried you’d walk into a wall or stub your toe? If we’re ever going to have an immersive and holodeck-style experience, we need something that will not break its illusion by accidents.

A few solutions have surfaced to figure out how to handle the “limited space” problem in virtual reality. Omni-directional treadmills, haptic suits, and motion tracker gear are some of the ways that have risen to popularity recently. None of these options takes you even closer to feeling like you are walking naturally. But Google has announced a new patent that proposes an interesting idea about the potential of motorized virtual reality shoes.

Google describes in its patent that their VR roller skates will enable people to walk normally. The idea is that wheels and motors will work to nullify our natural locomotion, keeping us inside the safe zone in virtual reality. Seemingly, you can walk endlessly in VR while in real life you’re at the same spot. Just as VR controllers track your hand movement, Google’s shoes will track your feet. It will wheel you back into place in case you go too close to the walls inside your virtual zone.

Although, it’s still a patent and far from an actual product, it has made a lot of noise in VR world.  What we’re curious about is whether Google can create a product that will let us walk in VR without falling over. If it manages to come up with something that gets everything right, wearing a pair of smart VR shoes sound a lot better than keeping a huge treadmill and all the related gear around you.